Monday, June 8, 2009

Web Design: Data beats guesses 2 out of 3 times

Jakob Nielsen*, Web usability guru, offers priceless advice to Web designers and others interested in having their websites be visible and maximally accessible to users. His advice isn't based on style preferences or mere guesses, but on empirical evidence: data compiled by observing actual users attempting to navigate Web pages and sites. He reports eye-tracking studies to identify the hot spots on Web pages, talks about placement of photos, colors, and so on, for maximum usability.

This week's edition of his e-mail, Alertbox, is about font size. A Web page is one area where size does matter, because if your user can't see your brilliant text, they can't read it. But what the hey -- Most people know how to adjust font sizes on their monitors anyway, right? Well, no. Read what people guess about this issue, and what is really true, here.

Jakob Nielsen*Jakob Nielsen, Ph.D., is a User Advocate and principal of the Nielsen Norman Group which he co-founded with Dr. Donald A. Norman (former VP of research at Apple Computer). Until 1998 he was a Sun Microsystems Distinguished Engineer.

Dr. Nielsen founded the "discount usability engineering" movement for fast and cheap improvements of user interfaces and has invented several usability methods, including heuristic evaluation. He holds 79 United States patents, mainly on ways of making the Internet easier to use.

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